FIVE years of dedication to her job as a water meter reader at Coffs Harbour City Council has earned local resident Dallas Gittins a special honour.
Ms Gittins has been named the recipient of the 2015 Local Government Aboriginal Network Conference's Council Outdoor Employee Merit award, recognising her achievements over and above her job requirements.
The proud Gumbaynggirr woman said the award came as a surprise
"I love my job - it keeps me on the streets but out of trouble," she joked.
"I was very surprised to win the award, but I'm passionate about encouraging our people into work and careers.
"The way I see it is if I can do it, then there's nothing stopping anyone else."
Dallas has worked for Coffs Harbour City Council since 2010, when she joined as a trainee water billing officer while studying for her Certificate IV in Business Services.
On completion of her training, Dallas secured the role on a full-time basis.
More recently, she has enrolled in a Certificate IV Human Resources to further her career prospects and help other members of the Aboriginal community into work.
Dallas also attends Gumbaynggirr language classes with Ngaawa Ngaluunggirr Giirrwaa (Language Healing Mob) to help nurture and revitalise the language.
She cites her own mother as her best role model in life, recalling how her mum returned to school alongside Dallas to encourage her to complete her HSC.
The award follows this year's conference at Port Macquarie, which brought together Aboriginal staff from across the NSW local government sector.
Mayor Denise Knight presented the award to Dallas on behalf of conference leaders.
"I am delighted to congratulate Dallas on winning this prestigious accolade," Cr Knight said
"She is a great example of someone who sets herself goals and continues to achieve them very successfully."